INTERVIEW: Retiree

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RETIREE are one of the most exciting indie dance bands to come out of Australia since the early rise of the Modular Records artists, which featured the likes of THE PRESETS, CUT COPY and VAN SHE.

Anyone who has seen them live will also be able to tell you how unique and impressive their show is. Being a big fan of RETIREE myself, I decided to hit the boys up for some more insight on the past, present and future of the band.

You released your debut EP on the relatively new Australian label Plastic World. What’s it like to be involved in such an original and exciting imprint?

We feel really lucky to have been a part of it. James and Vic are legends and it’s been fun working with them in such early stages of their label. It was a really collaborative effort getting our first release ready, deciding which tracks to put out, remixes and putting together the launches. The guys have a few exciting new releases coming out on Plastic World soon.

I’ve been describing your sound to my friends as “a cross between Cut Copy and Hot Chip”. Would you say this is an fairly accurate description of your music?

That’s a really flattering way of describing us, we’re all fans of those two bands. People do struggle to describe our music. All four of us write songs for Retiree so they can spur from different directions and influences. When one of us brings an idea or track to the band it tends to morph and change a lot through jamming, adding vocals and experimenting with instrumentation. Melody and rhythm always seem to bubble up in every song.

Client Liaison’s take on ‘Rain’ almost sounds like a whole new track rather than a remix. Was it their own idea to incorporate new lyrics throughout the song?

CL don’t tend to do anything in halves, so we weren’t surprised they got so deep with it. It’s even become part of their live show! After remixing ‘Rain’, they liked the drum parts so much that they used them in their song ‘Free of Fear’. It worked out as a convenient trade.

In late March you played shows in Sydney and Melbourne for your EP launch. What was the response like for you on stage?

They were both great launches, people were dancing and seemed to be having a good time. We were really happy to be able to extend a few tracks, as well as play a couple of new ones which were received really well.

For these particular gigs you had some excellent support acts such as Roland Tings, Andras Fox, Donny Benet and Pelvis. Were these artists chosen by yourselves?

We were really flattered that all these guys were keen to launch our record with us. We worked together with Plastic World to create the line ups and made sure it was a real celebration. Andras did a remix of ‘Together’ on the record so we were really stoked he was able to play the Melbourne show. Donny Benet had the crowed dancing on stage with him by the second song which was almost as wild as his keyboard solos. We were lucky enough to get Roland Tings and then Pelvis to play till late for both dates which capped the nights off well. Melbourne sold out before doors and Sydney got close which was a real treat, but also a bummer because some of our close friends in Melbourne had to listen from upstairs!

Bradley Zero, one of the key hosts/MCs from Boiler Room, recently rated your EP as his favourite of the year so far. It must be very flattering for you to hear that considering how musically educated he is?

We were pretty surprised by his reaction given the amount of music he must listen to. It’s a really cool to think that our music is hitting that sort of spot with someone like Bradley.

Do you think it could be a hint of an inclusion on the bill next time Boiler Room return to Australia?

Fingers crossed.

‘Altruisme’ is quite an interesting track. Can you tell us a bit about what inspired it?

Our most loved dance records are from Europe in the early eighties. The endearing thing about them is the English lyrics, usually with incorrect grammar and always sung in a thick accent. We wanted to flip that around and give someone in Europe that same feeling when hearing it. So we haven’t double checked the translation or perfected the accent, but we play it with the conviction of our favourite records.

For the people like me who aren’t overly cultured, what language is it actually sung in?

French.

Can you please translate some of the lyrics for us?

Throw your ego to the wind,
Let the breeze of altruism guide you.
Share your umbrella,
Sing for a troll.
When you arrive at the storm,
Dance in the rain.

Have you been working on any new material in the studio lately?

We’re currently working on a studio version of ‘Altruisme’ which will be out in the next couple of months with a film clip. That version on the internet was recorded live at rehearsal about a year ago so it’s been cool to record it properly and change it up a little bit.

New stuff too! Nothing finalised yet, but you’ll hear about a new release before the end of the year.

How long will Retiree fans have to wait to see you perform live again?

Our next show is at Astral & Friends at Goodgod on the 20th of June and then one or two in the near future that haven’t been announced yet.

Words by Tony Kingston

SEE ALSO:

FIVE THINGS WE LEARNT WHILE ATTENDING WITNESS//01
SOUNDCLOUD WRAP: ROLAND TINGS
OSCAR KEY SUNG & ANDRAS FOX LIVE BOILER ROOM MELBOURNE SET

About:

During the week Tony works in a busy retail corporate office. Once day becomes night, there’s a good chance you’ll see him at a gig or DJing at a house party.